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Mars in Opposition

mars“Astro” Mark Laurin, Keystone Science School Adjunct Instructor

Have you been curious about a bright reddish orb rising from the southeastern horizon after sunset as of late? That’s the planet Mars. To the ancient Romans, Mars was the son of Jupiter and the god of war and the guardian of agriculture and farming. Did you know that the month of March is named after Mars?

At Keystone Science School we explore all components of our environment. Throughout all our overnight outdoor education programs we love to highlight and celebrate the celestial events. The ever-changing night sky is a great way to engage our students to be curious learners whether they are on an expedition program or one of our traditional overnight summer camp programs. We don’t just teach facts about the night sky but want all our students to experience it. We want everyone to be a life-long learner. Go outside, look up, be curious, and wonder.

Mars in Opposition

No, Mars is not warring with the other visible planets Saturn and Jupiter, currently reflecting bold sunlight in the southwestern sky from dusk to deep into the night. In astronomy, an opposition is the time when a planet (Mars) is in the exact opposite position in the sky to the Sun. At the same time, as the Earth passes between Mars and the Sun, Mars will be the closest to Earth since its elliptical orbit varies between 128.4 million and 154.8 million miles from the Sun. This happened on October 13th. When the Sun set that night in the west, Mars rose in the east and shone loudly throughout the night, and then later when it drops below the western horizon early the following morning, the Sun at the same time popped up above the eastern horizon on the opposite side on the sky announcing the start of a new day.

Around every 15 years, the geometry works out that the Earth passes Mars while the Earth is near aphelion (our maximum distance from the Sun) and Mars is near perihelion (its minimum distance from the Sun). When that happens, our two planets are much closer to one another and thus Mars is bigger and brighter. On the 13th, as Mars reached opposition a mere 38, 568,000 miles separated it from Earth. The next time Mars is in opposition is 2035.

What’s Up with Mars?

Here’s what is going on. Mars has an orbit that is about 50% farther from the sun than Earth’s, on average. This results in the Earth completing an orbit of the sun more quickly than Mars does. In fact, Earth circles the sun almost twice in the time Mars takes to complete one orbit. If Earth and Mars were placed at the same starting line on an imaginary racetrack around the sun (as is the case tonight), when Earth returned after one lap, slowpoke Mars would be out of sight on the opposite side of the sun from Earth. By the time the Earth completes its second lap, Mars would be back on the same side of the sun as the Earth. Earth passes Mars every 2 years and 50 days.

Because the Sun and Mars are directly opposite each other as viewed from Earth, we see the fully lighted daytime side of Mars. A fully-lit planet is brighter than a less-fully-lit one. It’s the same with a full moon. When the moon is full it is directly opposite the Sun in the sky; rising at sunset and setting at sunrise. Yep, you are correct, the Moon is in opposition when it’s a full moon.

Viewing Mars

There is no denying that when you look at Mars with your naked eye, you’ll see a reddish ruddy planet. That reddish appearance is distinct to Mars and is the effect of the iron oxide prevalent on the surface. As a terrestrial plant, viewing Mars through a telescope or binoculars you’ll see valleys, deserts and polar ice caps. At higher magnification through most telescope impact craters will come into view, just like the ones you see on the Moon.

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What skills do I need to start a career in Outdoor Education?

career outdoor education

Here is a helpful list of skills to gain when considering a career as an outdoor educator or summer wilderness instructor. Make sure you’re prepared when we begin the summer hiring process.

Obtain a First Aid Certification

Applicants are required to have a valid CPR certification and either a Wilderness First Aid or Wilderness First Responder certification. Make sure yours will be current for the Summer 2021 season or register for a course. There are a number of organizations that provide first aid certifications. Check out NOLS Wilderness Medicine, Wilderness Medical Associates, SOLO Schools.

Gain Childcare Experience

Whether through a part-time job or volunteer opportunity, gain as much childcare experience as possible before applying. Candidates with prior teaching experience, with school-aged children, will be prioritized for consideration over those who have little to no experience. 

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Programas Diarios y Semanales de Otoño para Apoyar a los Estudiantes de K-8vo

Inscripciones Abren el jueves 5 de agosto a las 10a

Keystone Science School está trabajando con un gran número de proveedores en la comunidad para establecer opciones de cuidado de niñ@s a través de este año escolar. Inscripciones para las primeras 3 semanas de la programación de KSS de Otoño abren el jueves 5 de agosto a las 10a.

Keystone Science School (KSS) está trabajando con varios programas de jóvenes alrededor de Summit County en un esfuerzo por apoyar a familias y estudiantes de K-12. A través del semestre de otoño, KSS ofrecerá programación que atienda las necesidades socioemocionales y educativas de los estudiantes. Los programas complementarán las instrucciones tradicionales del salón de clases con el propósito de apoyar a nuestras familias trabajadoras con su necesidad de cuidado de niñ@s y su enriquecimiento académico.

Semana Completa

Los programas de semana completa son para aquellos estudiantes que han optado por un plan de estudios virtual. Se crearán pequeños grupos de estudiantes de edades similares durante cada semana. A lo largo de la semana, los estudiantes participarán en un programa tradicional de KSS, lo que significa la infusión de un plan de estudios temático de una semana. El programa de Semana Completo permitirá a un grupo de no más de 10 estudiantes crear su propia comunidad mientras se les ofrece apoyo socioemocional y académico. Los detalles de cada semana todavía están en desarrollo, pero se espera que las actividades se basen en proyectos y pueden incluir un proyecto de servicio de aprendizaje.

Programa Diario 

Los Programas Diarios están diseñados para familias que requieren flexibilidad y apoyo para el cuidado de niños de manera menos consistente que la semana completa. A lo largo del día, los estudiantes recibirán apoyo académico y participarán en varias actividades apropiadas para su edad similares a cualquier programa de Semana Completa. Todas las actividades se centrarán en desarrollar una comunidad entre los estudiantes de edades similares. Cuando los estudiantes no participan en actividades tradicionales de KSS, recibirán apoyo para su plan de estudios virtual, ya sea que su propia escuela siga el modelo de instrucción virtual o híbrido. 

Programa de Otoño y Manejo de Riesgo

Con el apoyo de las agencias estatales y locales de salud pública, Keystone Science School ha desarrollado procedimientos de gestión de riesgos específicos para mitigar la propagación de COVID-19. Los sistemas recientemente desarrollados ayudaron a guiar la facilitación de los programas de “Day Camp” en 6 ubicaciones en todo el condado de Summit. Estos mismos procedimientos estarán vigentes para todos los programas de otoño que incluyen el requisito de cubrirse la cara, distanciarse físicamente, grupos pequeños y exámenes de salud diarios. 

Detalles del Programa

Localización: Keystone Science School Campus
Fechas: 31 de agosto-4 de septiembre, 7 de septiembre-11 de septiembre, 14 de septiembre- 18 de septiembre
Costos: $279 por semana, $59 por día, BECAS disponibles para todos los programas
Para más información: (970)468-2098 oThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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Fall Day & Week Programs to Support K-8th Students

Registration Opens at 10a on Thursday

Keystone Science School is working with a large group of community providers to establish childcare options throughout the upcoming school year. Registration will open for the first 3-weeks of KSS Fall Programming at 10a on Thursday, August 6th. 

Keystone Science School is collaborating with several youth programs across Summit County in an effort to support families and students in grades K-12. Throughout the fall semester, KSS is offering programmatic options to meet the academic and social-emotional needs of students. Programs will supplement traditional classroom instruction and support working families with their need for child care and academic enrichment. Keystone Science School has two program options which includes full week and day programs.

Full Week Program

Full week programs are for those students who have opted into a virtual curriculum. Small groups will be created of similarly aged students for the duration of each week. Throughout the week students will participate in a traditional KSS program which means the infusion of a week-long theme-based curriculum. The Full Week program will allow a group of no more than 10 students to create their own community while offering them social emotional and academic support. The details of each week are still in development, but it is expected that activities will be project based and may include a service learning project.

Full Day Program 

Full Day Programs are designed for families requiring flexibility and child care support on a less consistent basis than the full week. Throughout the day students will receive academic support and participate in several age appropriate activities similar to any Full Week program. All activities will focus on developing a community among the similarly aged students. When students are not participating in traditional KSS activities they will be receiving support for their virtual curriculum whether their own school is following the virtual or hybrid model of instruction.

Fall Program Risk Management

With the support of State and Local Public Health agencies, Keystone Science School has developed risk management procedures specific to mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Newly developed systems helped guide the facilitation of day camp programs at 6 locations throughout Summit County. These same procedures will be in place for all Fall Programs which include the requirement of facial coverings, physical distancing, small group sizes, and daily health screens. 

Program Details

Location: Keystone Science School Campus
Dates: August 31-September 4, September 7-September 11, September 14- September 18
Fees: $279per week, $59 per day, Scholarships are available for all programs
More Information: (970)468-2098 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web Address: